No, the President Is Not Our Coach
Fox News host Laura Ingraham certainly caused a firestorm with her recent comments regarding NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant. In case you haven’t heard, both James and Durant made disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump while being “interviewed” in the back of an SUV. Ingraham then responded to these comments on her show by telling both players to (among other things) “shut up and dribble.” As expected, a massive fallout has ensued.
But what perhaps is even more interesting is a part of the initial commentary on the part of both parties that many have missed when discussing the points that were made. While discussing the president, Durant stated that “I feel our team as a country is not run by a great coach.” This resulted in Ingraham saying, “LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach.”
So is the label that both Ingraham and Durant (and by association, James) give to the president an accurate one? Is the president of the United States really the “coach” of the people? In virtually every aspect that one could assign the title of coach, the president does not fit this description. The president (any president) is most emphatically not our coach and both of these NBA stars along with Ingraham are incorrect for labeling him this way.
In any sport, a coach is someone who advises, critiques, inspires, and instructs you. The president doesn’t do any of these things unless you work directly for him. A coach is someone you know personally who has a vested interest in how you perform your job. James and Durant do not know the president personally and appear to have no desire to ever meet him. In our own lives very few of us will ever even meet a sitting president, much less have a personal relationship with him.
All of this runs counter to the myth that most of us have repeatedly heard that the president “runs the country.” In reality, private individuals run the country rather than the president. Small business owners, CEO’s, bosses, and heads of households are the ones who really run our everyday institutions. It’s not even correct that the president runs the government. He’s in charge of the executive branch of the federal government. That’s significantly more specific.
Possibly without knowing it, James and Durant have made an excellent case for a more limited presidential power. After all, if a bad president (as they both certainly believe Trump is) can seize the kind of control they fear he can, then the more limitations that president will need placed on him. A beneficial lesson can be learned from all of this. If a president that you vote for and admire assumes more power, then that same power can be wielded by an undesirable president in the future. This is something to keep in mind when any politician amasses more authority.
In light of all this, we should be thankful that the president does not act like our coach, boss, pastor, parent, or any other authority figure in our personal lives. If he did, it would be a clear violation of the constitutional limitations that are supposed to restrain him. So when we vote for a president, we aren’t voting for a coach. The person we vote for has a much more limited role in our lives than that. This is a very good thing.